Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Keke Palmer And Taika Waititi On Why They Signed Onto Lightyear Without A Script - Exclusive

Both Taika Waititi and Keke Palmer are no strangers to voicing movie and TV characters. Waititi is a respected writer, director, and producer with credits as varied as "What We Do in the Shadows," "Reservation Dogs," and "Jojo Rabbit" to his name — but he's also the voice behind characters like the easy-going Korg in "Thor: Ragnarok" and the loyal droid IG-11 in the first season of "The Mandalorian." Meanwhile, Keke Palmer has played a number of stand-out roles in everything from "Akeelah and the Bee" to "Scream Queens" to the highly anticipated upcoming film "Nope," and she can also be heard in a number of animated comedies, including "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder" and "Human Resources."

Now, the pair have joined forces in Pixar's latest outing, "Lightyear," lending their voices to two-thirds of the Junior Zap Patrol — a squad of unpolished cadets who, after running into Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans), become his allies in the fight against a threat to their planet. Palmer plays Izzy Hawthorne, the eager-to-prove-herself team leader, and Waititi plays Mo Morrison, an ambivalent recruit whose ongoing commentary provides plenty of humor, even in dire circumstances. 

Despite the endearing on-screen banter between Izzy, Mo, Dale Soules' Darby Steel, Peter Sohn's Sox, and Evans' Buzz, none of the actors were in the same room when they recorded their parts because of the pandemic. This forced them to create the voices of each of their characters separately. They also didn't see a full script before they decided to join the film. In a recent conversation with Looper, Palmer and Waititi explained why, despite these limitations, they agreed to be part of "Lightyear."

'You're in good hands' with Pixar

Before signing on to "Lightyear," Keke Palmer and Taika Waititi were familiar with Pixar's revered work, including the four beloved "Toy Story" films. Moreover, the actors agreed that creating a movie that told the story of the real Buzz Lightyear was, in Waititi's words, "a brilliant idea." Their enthusiasm for the premise combined with their faith in Pixar convinced them to board the film.

"[With] Pixar, Disney, I'm like, 'Yo, this is going to be great,'" Palmer shared. "The process of knowing what the script [was] about was so secretive, but we were that trusting that we were like, 'We believe you because we know what you're going to put together.' I trusted the process, and when I saw the finished product, I [was] like, 'Man, it was so well [done].' I admired from a point of view, outside of being an actor, but also loving film and loving the creation of great storytelling. It was awesome."

"I had full trust," Waititi added. "I've seen all of their films and you know you're in good hands with these guys."

"Lightyear" is currently playing in theaters.